back to article Oral sex could be more dangerous than cigars

Painstaking academic research indicates that promiscuous oral sex can carry a higher risk of throat cancer than smoking or boozing. A report based on a hospital study of 100 oropharyngeal cancer sufferers and 200 controls, carried out by Johns Hopkins scientists, appeared today in the New England Journal of Medicine. In it, the …


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  1. Peter W

    numbers are wrong

    I read the New Scientist version of this and they made the same mistake elreg has made.

    Essentially, if you get the Virus, you're very likely to get throat cancer, and more Oral Sex partners makes it more likely you get the virus.

    However, the base claims are that Oral Sex makes it twice as likely you'll get Throat Cancer: Smoking or Drinking, 3 times, which still makes it more likely as 3>2.

  2. Dan Morris

    Does the brand...

    Does the brand of cigar make a difference? If I choose cheap Philly or a White Owl, is that better than a cuban?

    Things like this just leave one sitting with their mouth open. I wonder if it's a spit or swallow thing?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I can't believe no-one got there first with this...

    ... but this sort of research brings a lump to your throat.

  4. Roman Lorenzo

    I'll take my chances!

    Thanks for the warning but you can keep the cigars and I'll take my chances!

  5. J

    Oh, well

    Nothing better than to die happy, I'd say...


  6. Connie Lingus

    This could strike...

    ... a real blow to my lifestyle. Or could it? A little gender-specific info might be helpful here. Perhaps a second opinion from the academics at this fine instituion:

  7. Stuart


    i find that hard to swallow....err....maybe i should re-phrase that.....

  8. Lynne Eldridge M.D.

    HPV and oral cancer

    It has been known for some time the HPV is associated with oral cancer, and it is felt to be responsible for roughly 25 percent of oral cancers in the US, particularly HPV 16, one of the strains covered by the vaccine. Just as we are not telling women to become celebate for life to avoid infection, simple measures can be taken lower the risk of oral cancer. We advice women to get regular Pap smears, and perhaps we should be stressing that men and women alike see their dentists regularly. Most dentists routinely screen for oral cancer. In addition, a diet high in fruits and vegetables accelerates the clearance of HPV viruses, lowering the chance for infection to progress to cancer. While the debate continues on whether or not we should vaccinate males, or more radically segregate men and women to different continents, up the intake of your fruits and veges!

    Lynne Eldridge M.D. Author, "Avoiding Cancer One Day At A Time: Practical Advice for Preventing Cancer"

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    New Scientist claims a "250% higher" probability of getting throat cancer for those that engaged in oral sex with five or more partners.

    Now, according to the Robert-Koch-Institut, in Germany each year 13 out of 100.000 people develop throat cancer, which sets the absolute probability of suffering from this disease to 0.013%.

    If the "New Scientist" is right in assuming the risk goes up by the factor 8.6, then it rises to a whopping 0.11%.

    And if you now take into account that the study was conducted with people who already suffer from throat cancer and that other factors were not included as possible contributors, the whole study looks like being sponsored by some conservative group that has a problem with these "unhealthy" sexual practices.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But fellatio reduces the risk of preeclampsia

    According to some research: google for it.

    That's non-promiscuous fellatio, however.

  11. Colin Jackson

    Yeah but...

    Not my problem. Something for the wife to worry about. She's insured.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Circumcision is the answer....

    It is also a well know fact that circumcised men pose a lesser risk of transmitting HPV and women with circumcised partners are also less prone to contracting cervical cancers.

    It would be logical to assume that this also applies to throat cancers caused by oral sex. And we taste better.

    Did they evaluate the reverse scenario? I mean, is my tongue at risk if I have too many female partners with which I indulge in oral sex?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If that conclusion is from the same test I saw then it only tested recently-circumcised men and made no comparison to how promiscuous they are.

    The logical conclusion would be that however long-term effects might be, recently circumcised men would have a greater chance of not wanting so much sex until they were fully healed.

    If there has been a test which included comparisons of sexual practices then I retract this.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How do you volunteer for the study?

    How does one volunteer for the study? Just wondering? Also is there a stipend involved. If so I have been looking for a job like that my whole. Sit down and get paid for getting a hummer.

  15. jon

    re: Circumcision is the answer....

    Have you not heard of condoms??

    Perhaps you could explain how the US, with a circ rate of 80%(until very recently), has the highest rate of HIV infection in the western world?

    Perhaps you might also explain the findings of studies which have found lysosomes contained in smegma(which you ladies produce too) which are effective in combatting the HIV virus?

    Circumcision causes more problems, physically, psychologcally and sexually than it solves hence the growing backlash in the US against it.

    Besides, leaving a man intact is also more fun for the ladies, making things more "comfortable" for them.

    Also it is very easy for a woman to demand a man get cut, afterall, its not her most sensitive genital tissue being removed.

    Not only that Female Genital Mutilation is banned by law in most countries, while MGM is seen as a "harmless" cut.

    So much for equality eh? A person, be they male or female, should have a right to bodily integrity. Have you ever watched a circumcision? Its barbaric.

    ps well said Mycho, thats been the reaction to the study from most people, i.e. men who get cut arent gonna be doing it for a coupl months after, at least!!

  16. Andy Davies

    cigar smokers

    "excellent news for cigar fanciers, who seldom breathe the fumes of their chosen weed into their lungs"

    poppy -er- cock!

    AndyD 8-)#

  17. mark Weiss

    how dare you make fun of science

    how dare you make fun of science!! ??

    luv ya!

    pope urban VIII

  18. Harry

    You obviously don't understand how this works

    You all seem to be mis-understanding how this works. Generally, the guy who is performing oral sex on a girl with HPV is the person that will get oral cancer (yes, I'm a "victim" of same). The only reason the number of her partners matters is that the more partners, the greater the risk for her to contract HPV. This increases her risk for cervical cancer, but the guy may wind up with oral cancer, which can affect one or more parts of the oral cavity: lips, tongue, base of tongue, tonsil, lymph nodes in neck, etc.

    I discovered a lump in my neck one morning while shaving. A fine needle biopsy, followed by a rigorous examination by an otolaryngologist under anesthesia, produced a diagnosis of squamous cell cacinoma, base of tongue, metastisis to lymph nodes in neck. Six months of chemotherapy and radiation and I am in remission. This stuff is no laughing matter....oral cancers are agressive and often fatal if not found and treated in a timely manner.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well I'll be blowed!!

    One Swallow does not make a summer... It's enough to make you spit!!

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